Present at the Cannes Film Festival for his new film Stillwater, Matt Damon explained to us behind the scenes of this role, for which he gained weight … and muscle!
After Jodie Foster, crowned with an honorary Palme d’Or, Matt Damon is the other American star whose arrival was eagerly awaited in the first week during this Cannes 2021. And the actor of the saga Jason bourne did not disappoint the regulars of the Cannes Film Festival, who had come in large numbers to attend the red carpet, last night, of Stillwater. All smiles, Matt Damon was very complicit with Camille Cottin, his partner in the film. Directed by Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Stillwater traces the journey of a father, an oil driller, disembarking in Marseille from the depths of Oklahoma to help his daughter who is serving a prison sentence, accused of a crime she denies having committed … The day after The presentation of the film as a world premiere, it was a somewhat tired but smiling and available Matt Damon who answered our questions.
How would you define your character, Bill Baxter?
Bill is a silent and taciturn man. He’s a complex character, with gray areas and sometimes unexpected reactions. The way the character is portrayed in the script was so precise that I had a solid foundation to build on.
You changed your appearance for this movie. How did you work to achieve this physical transformation?
I went to Oklahoma and hung out with a lot of these guys who work in the oil drilling industry. They have their own way of walking, of wearing their jeans, of moving their body … Most of them have the same build, they are generally quite strong, with broad shoulders. Their job requires real brute force. I tried to approach their appearance by carrying heavy things, but without doing cardio, by eating the same things as them, proteins, burgers … I ended up gaining ten kilos in a few weeks, both muscle and fat.
You also have a very different look …
Yes, with the goatee, the glasses and the baseball cap, I really wanted to look like the typical portrait of those 50/60 year old men that I met. I could show you pictures of these guys, it’s almost like they all have the same uniform (laughs).
This style made you almost unrecognizable at the Stade Vélodrome, where you filmed …
It was very convenient, yes, to blend in with the crowd. And, at the same time, I looked so American! Either way, when you’re there, everyone’s only interested in the game. We were lucky enough to be able to shoot during a real OM match, the atmosphere was great. The level of intensity and passion that I felt in the stadium has nothing to do with what we know in the United States.
What is your best memory of filming in Marseille?
The Velodrome stadium, for the atmosphere, and the Calanques, for the beauty of the place and the calm I felt there.
Could you imagine moving there?
I could totally live in Marseille. Besides, I said it to the director Tom McCarthy on the set: if I was a young Frenchman, this would be the city where I would like to live. There is an incredible energy, impossible to ignore, and at the same time a real history and a culture. It is a fantastic place to live.